Atresplayer Premium, the OTT platform run by Spanish media conglom Atresmedia, is prepping TV series “La Ruta,” teaming with Caballo Films, the production outfit whose partners include filmmaker Rodrigo Sorogoyen, the co-creator of Movistar Plus’ hit “Riot Police.”
“La Ruta” – a working title – is set on the La Ruta del Bakalao, a legendary zone of nightclubs lining some 19 miles of a CV-500 secondary road between the Spanish coastal city of Valencia and its beaches to its south. From 1983 to 1993, this strip of road became one of the biggest and most vibrant club-scenes in not only Spain but Europe.
The series, in early development, involves further Caballo partners such as Borja Soler as creator and director, and Eduardo Villanueva as producer.
Soler co-directed and Villanueva executive produced and co-wrote Sorogoyen’s “Riot Police,” one of the most acclaimed of Spanish TV series this year, which world premiered at September’s San Sebastian Film Festival.
In pre-production and at script design stage, “La Ruta” will depict the personal journeys of a group of young Spaniards attempting to find their place in the world. One of them, after an experience pushes him towards the club scene, discovers his gift as a D.J., seen as a linchpin of the nightlife scene.
“Focused as a character-driven series, departing from the specific [situations] the story describes, the series will suggest a lot about what happened in this period, on multiple levels, to youth and relationships,” said José Antonio Antón, director of programming, content and digital at Atresmedia.
Coinciding with the gentrification of Madrid’s “La Movida,” “La Ruta del Bakalao” welcomed a much more varied social mix of ravers, and also gave a sense of a road-trip given that club clients would drive miles from one famous nightspot to the next.
Such features offer a “strong potential for audiovisual production,” Antón said.
“The story will have a strong emotional force and show the unique environment of La Ruta del Bakalao, which marked a generation of young Spaniards,” Antón said.
“We fell in love with how Soler and Villanueva described the period, one in which you could see a townhouse and next to it a mega disco, or a paradisiacal beach and next to it a parking lot packed with young people having the time of their lives,” Antón added.
“La ruta” will combine drama, comedy and thriller, plus very real characters living unique experiences, said Antón.
With the title, he added, Atresmedia is aiming for a high-concept series dovetailing with other Atresplayer Premium original series, such as “Veneno,” one of the OTT’s early originals and “a declaration of intentions, in terms of quality and innovation.”
An Atresmedia production, in collaboration with Buendía Estudios and Suma Latina, “Veneno,” created by Javier Calvo and Javier Ambrossi, competes at Mipcom’s 4th Diversify TV Excellence Awards, in the LGBTQ Plus scripted category.
“Veneno” has also been one of the drivers of Atresplayer Premium fast-burgeoning subscriptions base. After one year as a pay OTT, the platform hit 253,000 subscribers by June. It is now on track to reach 300,000 households, mainly in Spain, but also in Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market.
Subscribers also have access to Atresmedia’s huge back-catalog, encompassing more than 20,000 hours of programming.
Atresmedia will give “La Ruta’s” production team full creative freedom, in line with previous Atresplayer Premium originals, allowing for and encouraging bolds visuals and narrative and musical experimentation, Antón said.
International sales continue to play a key role in its business model: “Veneno,” for instance, was recently acquired by WarnerMedia for HBO Max in the U.S. and Latin America.